Feb 3, 2009

Texting: Pro

by Natalie Lozano

I’m convinced that the cell phone add-on known as “texting” is now as necessary to the American populace as French fries. And like French fries, text messaging is deliciously addictive, versatile and satisfying.

Consider the world we live in. We are entrapped in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment where businesses and college students alike require an efficient means of communication to get by. For many people this comes via the Internet on “smart” phones that additionally offer built-in cameras, Bluetooth and the occasional small Jacuzzi.

But for the rest of us, the next best thing to e-mail in the palm of our hand is a qwerty keyboard and a plan with unlimited texting.

The average phone call lasts more than three minutes, according to a New York Times article. The number sounds small, but that may be too long for some people, especially those who have only 25 “anytime” minutes available in a single month for their mouth’s use.

A more efficient way to spend three minutes is to carry on simultaneous conversations with your colleagues.

I’m not encouraging you to blindly create conversations out of thin air. Instead, I’m saying we should take advantage of the spare moments wasted while waiting for an incoming text. The wait in between “message sent” and “message received” is less than eternity, but can feel drudgingly long, depending on the vulnerability you squeezed into 160 characters.

There you are, anxiously awaiting an answer, while your friend is taking his or her time in determining the nicest way to say “no.”

Yet by opting for a text message, we can avoid many potentially uncomfortable conversations. Instead of waiting in awkward semi-silence on the phone for a friend’s reply, we can keep our fidgety minds busy with other text messages.

Other conversations to avoid are those with people you don’t know well. When you are unsure of a proper time to call, a text message does the trick perfectly. By texting, you lower the risk of interrupting them while they are at work, in class or just busy. Text messaging in uncertain waters is a great alternative to what will most likely turn into an odd vocal exchange with someone you hardly know.

Thankfully, a simple text message can spare your dwindling calling minutes and save you from uncomfortable conversations. Behold the simplicity of texting: “Hey Gene, it’s Leon. I forgot when/where we are meeting? Thanks!” (64 characters). While you are waiting for Gene’s reply, you can also confirm that your significant other is free on Friday, and three texts later, can discern if she or he wants to go to the game.
Yes, there are times texting can be complicated. But outside the Internet, there is no other way to converse with several, or even masses, of people simultaneously.

There is also a beautiful simplicity to text messaging. Perhaps the best benefit is an 11-character text that communicates affection without the hassle of a formal conversation: I love you.

This is one of my mom’s favorite text messages, which I know because I see it often, usually at 7:30 a.m. Of course, it’s the thought and not the ring tone that counts. I will confess that she does not always receive a reply. Not because I don’t love her, but because I don’t want to let her know that a means of communication, which is supposed to work without intruding into another’s life did, in fact, wake me.

Not everyone values the convenience that a text message offers to the enlightened. And there, in 11 characters is the best argument in favor of texting: convenience.

Contact Natalie Lozano at

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